Abergavenny town centre could soon have even more of a sparkling welcome for shoppers, tourists and residents, thanks to an enthusiastic group of traders and businesses.

A number of business owners around St John’s Square and Nevill Street, one of the town’s oldest and most attractive thoroughfares, have banded together and are about to launch a Litter-Free Zone (LFZ) showing off their community to its best advantage.

This will be the second one for the town centre.

To achieve this, they are working in partnership with Keep Wales Tidy/Caru Cymru, Keep Abergavenny Tidy, Abergavenny Town Council, and Monmouthshire County Council.

Members of the community have been working tirelessly to maintain the cleanliness and attractiveness of the town for many years.

Town centre streets are currently cleaned by the Town Team, employed by the town council; their work topped up by volunteer groups such as Keep Abergavenny Tidy (KAT) who hold monthly community litter picks around hot-spots whilst other volunteers litter pick in their own time.

Meanwhile, the local council runs the dog-poo bin scheme in addition to Monmouthshire County Council’s frequent anti litter campaigns.

MCC have also provided litter bins and cigarette stub containers to minimise unsightly and toxic waste.

It is believed that the Litter-Free scheme will only further propel the town towards its goal of being litter-free.

The Litter-Free Zones initiative was set up nationally by the charity Keep Wales Tidy, part of the Caru Cymru (Love Wales) environmental partnership funded by the Welsh Government and other agencies. It’s designed to encourage businesses and schools to adopt specific areas keeping them litter-free. Tool-kits and resources are provided with the aim of raising public awareness about litter and its dangers.

KAT volunteers were keen to see the LFZ scheme introduced to Abergavenny. Litter surveys were conducted over months identifying the types of litter, the brands and where it was dumped. In addition, monthly figures of collected litter continue to be recorded. Since KAT was relaunched in March 2019, the tally to date has reached 3,352 bags.

In June 2022, KAT convened a meeting of the partners and by November, a LFZ pilot scheme was introduced around lower Cross Street selected because it was a main entrance to the town forming visitors’ first impressions, and had a number of food outlets and takeaways.

Six businesses were signed up but in practice some problems were identified. These have now been resolved and should lead to a more effective future LFZ with a KAT volunteer offering to take on an admin role, said a KAT spokesperson.

Businesses in Nevill Street and St John’s Square expressed an interest in forming a LFZ, and KAT prepared a report presented to the town council last month which was accepted.

The Town Clerk and a KAT volunteer are due to meet representatives from the businesses in Nevill Street and St John’s Square to arrange a starting date.

“Litter is a modern-day scourge and dropped rubbish can be dangerous for both pets and wildlife. Any steps to eradicate its presence making the town cleaner and more attractive is always very welcome,” said a KAT spokesperson. “Please contact us if you want more details about LFZs or becoming a volunteer. Also check out our Facebook page.”